Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children.
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Valley Golf Course on the east side of Willmar may not measure up to Hazeltine National Golf Club in yardage, but it holds it own in other ways -- especially with seniors. About 100 senior men show up every Tuesday morning from May through August for league play. From the white tees, Valley measures 2,479. Times two, that's 4,958 yards. The pros at Hazeltine today are attacking a course that measures a record 7,674 yards. But this Valley is just as green and as well maintained. The parking is better, too.
SPICER -- For a guy who grew up playing golf and tennis, Mark Lavin sure has learned his way around a triathlon course. Lavin won the Olympic division of the sixth annual Green Lake Triathlon a third year in a row on Sunday. Among the 80 entrants in the long race, he was third fastest in the ¾-quarter-mile swim, fourth quickest in the 24-mile bike leg, and second fastest over the six-mile road race. "I played golf and tennis in high school," said the 31-year-old Vermillion, S.D., native, now a dentist in Sioux Falls.
SPICER -- Mark Lavin returns to defend his Olympic Course title at the sixth annual Green Lake Triathlon on Sunday morning. Lavin, 31, from Sioux Falls, S.D., has won both years since the event was extended into both a Sprint and long-course. The 2008 Sprint champ Robert Brown, 34, of Hopkins is also among the confirmed registrations. Race director Dave Baker expects numbers similar to last year when 430 competed individually or on a relay. Breaking 500 entrants is a possibility, he added.